Have you ever seen an artist hypnotized and his subconscious talks about art to an audience, or an exhibit where a suitcase is moving by itself, while carrots are whistling on top of a globe, and a milk-like liquid is pouring from one drawer in a cabinet piece to the one underneath it? If not, you need to visit Bleicher/Golightly gallery in the Pacific Plaza Center on 1431 Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica. The gallery offers a variety of events, including concerts, gallery talks, as well as interactive projects between artists and gallery visitors.
The gallery, run by artist and curator, Om Navon Bleicher, and his business partner, Paul Golightly, exhibits works in multiple disciplines - photography, mixed-media, conceptual art, painting, sculpture, craft and design. Unique in its approach, Bleicher/Golightly focuses on works that cross opposing genres and ideologies and sometimes integrates elements from visual fields that are not fine art. Bleicher believes that one place to find meaning and new ‘movements’ is in the intersection of opposing fields e.g. figurative-abstract, conceptual-expressive, insider-outsider.
Bleicher/Golightly Gallery concentrates mainly on ‘mid-career’ breaking artists. Yet, established artists are part of their roster too, as well as emerging artists. Most of them are local, but the gallery also has a handful of national and international artists. Bleicher chooses his artists based on the fact that “they are highly prolific and ambitious, but authentic in their approach and desire to create.”
Instead of focusing on popular art works and short term trends, Bleicher tries to exhibit works that will have a long term impact and a lasting emotional or meaningful connection and relationship with the buyer.
Om’s hope is to bring back human meaning to highly innovative works as an anecdote to the “anything-goes’ Wild West in the wake of post-modernism.”
Overall, the gallery has a friendly and open atmosphere. Similar to museums, explanations are often put on the walls or descriptions can be found in a folder at the entrance door, as well as its knowledgeable staff readily available to explain about the artists and their process of work. Everybody that walks in is treated in a respectful way. Bleicher/Golightly also holds art related events on a weekly basis, making the gallery an approachable meeting point for the bayside Santa Monica district arts community, and an enjoyable night out for visitors to the area.
After the exhibit “Turned On” - curated by Joella March - comes to an end, the gallery will kick off its next project, which will feature Airom Bleicher as well as artists, Jim Holyoak, and Matt Shane. It will be an interactive project, “where hundreds of works will come together (mostly works on papers) in a multi-faceted installation that will change constantly through the course of the exhibit as artists add more work.” Every night a new guest artist will stop in to collaborate with Holyoak, Shane and Bleicher. The general public will also be able to participate on certain sections of the installation.
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